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Women’s team shuts out Nigerians, 4-0.
Grandmaster Eugene Torre kept his perfect record with the white pieces as the Philippines clobbered South Africa, 3.5-0.5, Tuesday in the fifth round of the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Torre, one of the oldest participants at 64, opened with the rarely-played b3, steered the game into a positional battle before stamping his class in the endgame where his experience proved too much for International Master Watu Kobese.
In another display of mastery of the rook-and-pawn endgame, Torre outplayed Kobese in 51 moves to collect his fourth win in five straight matches.
It marked Torre’s strongest start in 23 Olympiad appearances, lining him up for a possible fourth individual medal.
He won the silver at board one in the 1974 Nice Olympiad apart from two bronze medals.
Counting his drawn game against Costa Rica Monday, Torre now has 4.5 points, the best score among the Filipinos.
GMs Catalino Sadorra and Rogelio Barcenilla also delivered the points in both ends of the table while GM John Paul Gomez settled for a draw with IM Daniel Cawdery in 43 moves in the second board.
After a two-day rest, Sadorra returned at the top board to whip GM Kenny Solomon in 63 moves. He converted a pawn advantage to victory in the endgame.
Barcenilla, on the other hand, labored through 106 moves before translating a rook-and-bishop against rook endgame into victory against IM Donovan Van den Heever in the last board.
The pawn-less endgame is theoretically a draw, but in practice, defense is difficult which Den Heever found out under time pressure.
Den Heever, who gave up his knight for the lone pawn, resigned after realizing he would be checkmated in one.
The win, their fourth, catapulted the Filipinos into a share of seventh spot, still a full point behind co-leaders Netherlands, Ukraine and India.
There are no games scheduled on Wednesday.
On Thursday, the Filipinos collide with 12th seed Norway, the strongest team they will be meeting so far.
Meanwhile, the women’s team whitewashed Nigeria, 4-0.
After three straight draws against higher-ranked opponents, woman International Master Janelle Mae Frayna posted her second win at the expense of WIM Sabrina Latreche in 41 moves.
In other results:
WIM Jan Jodilyn Fronda bounced back from two straight losses against WIM Amina Meziod in 74 moves, WIM Catherine Secopito humbled WIM Amira Hamza in 40 moves and WFM Shania Mae Mendoza defeated WIM Hayat Toubal in 40 moves.
The Filipinas, who now share 17th spot, take on Mexico in the sixth round. (REY BANCOD)